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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok, well I have no experience at all and so I'm trying to get into beekeeping for a hobby. A friend had told me his neighbor, who was sent to jail some time ago, had left a few hive boxes in his backyard. My friend wants them out because the bees are disturbing his animals (horses, chickens, etc) and wanted to know if I would take them since the house is being foreclosed on and the bank rep said they are going to kill the bees if they aren't removed. So, I inspected the hives and found about 5 different hives that are stacked 3-4 supers high. 3/5 of the hives were old and vacant. Two remained but are in bad shape (holes/cracks everywhere for the bees to escape from). I was told by a beekeeper to remove the top super filled with honey and just focus on getting the brood out. Boy, was that a mess. As soon as I lifted the top super the bees went nuts and attacked me. I must have had thousands all over me with a death wish. I've been around another hive before and they never were this aggressive, even while I was removing their comb from my dads patio. So, I'm wondering if I did something wrong or if these are AHB's and I should just stay away. I was hit 25+ times in my arms and don't plan on going through that again. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

P.S. I've been doing some reading and was wondering if I might have smashed a few bees while removing the super and might have triggered a reaction for the bees to attack. I'm sure it also didn't help when I panicked a bit and was trying to 100's of bees off my arms.
 

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oh no, I hope you're okay :(

sounds painful.

Did you smoke the bees? Are you in an area where you may enounter africanized bees?

are there any old timey beeks that may be able to help you out? I hate the idea of bees being destroyed :cry:

I've found that antihistamine sprays are GREAT for multiple stings

hang in there
 

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What was the weather like when you opened the hive?

Did you have a bee suit on? A friend of mine whose parents were commercial beekeepers told me that you should have as much protection on as you need to feel comfortable approaching the hive. Sounds like you may have been pretty underdressed.

good luck though, I'd love to get a free hive just like that.

keep it up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I had smoked the bees for a bit but had noticed a few starting to peck at me while I was doing so. I was wearing a bee suit but that didn't offer much protection. As you can imagine while wearing a bee suit and face gear I was stung 25+ times, so there must have been a lot more stingers that didn't get through.

The weather was sunny and it was around noon time when I tried doing this. I was advised by a beekeeper to do this during noon time since that is when most of the hive is out foraging for food. Everyone else I've spoken to said I should have done this during the night. The problem with doing it during night is that the lot is vacant and has trash scattered around so I didn't feel like falling on a piece of wood with nails, wire, cactus, etc.

The hive is still there but I'm not so sure now if I want to mess with them if they are AHB. I'm going to be keeping my first hive at my grandfathers house and the last thing I want to do is bring an aggressive hive to his place.
 

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Improper use of a smoker and rough handling of equipment will set them off, or it could just have been who knows what. Find an experienced beekeeper to work w/ a little.

Good luck. Don't get run off. You have your combat experience behind you and not allergic reactions, right?
 

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im not sure how I could have not used the smoker correctly. Can you please explain?

The top super needed to be pried open a bit but I was as gentle as I could be.

Yeah, it could have been any number of things but I'm really starting to wonder if they are AHB and if it is worth salvaging them. It just seems like I was attacked too quickly and by so many of them. But, i'm still learning so I'm not so sure.


Thanks a lot everyone for the info thus far. Its really appreciated!
 

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I can not imagine a bee suit that would get you 25 stings in the arms. Now I get hit in the legs a fair amount, but I prefer an inspector jacket. If the bee suit is that porous you might like to wear a thick sweat suit under it. If I have to work a HOT hive... and it seems like we have one in every yard.... I get the smoker really puffing and first smoke the area around the hive, then blow a few puffs right in the entrance... the crack the hive and blow several puffs down in it.. close it up and wait a coupla minutes. Guess AHB might be possible. GEt an old beek to go with you.... if they run him off... well - must be AHB.
 

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If you can, definitely get some experienced help. If it is AHB, you will appreciate the advice. Try to be as gentle as you can, and use ample amounts of smoke in the entrance first. Smoke a bit when you pry up the inner cover and let the smoke go through the hive. 25 times is a bunch. You could try a looser fitting suit or where some layers under it until you get comfortable with them.
 

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Everyone else I've spoken to said I should have done this during the night. The problem with doing it during night is that the lot is vacant and has trash scattered around so I didn't feel like falling on a piece of wood with nails, wire, cactus, etc.
Do not do this at night. Not only will it be harder for you to see what you are doing but when you start taking the beehive apart in the dark the bees will freak out and you will be the target of opportunity. Very early in the morning before the bees are stirring might be a good time.
 

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You might want to try to wearing looser fitting bee suit too (or in my case lose a few pounds!) I've got a couple nasty hives to put up with until I re-queen them. They manage to get through my suit if I squat down to inspect frames. This tightens the bee suit in the crotch, butt, and legs. None is a good place to get stung in. I've learned to stand as erect as I can to let the suit just hang off me when I check these hives. My time is limited, so I don't have the luxury of waiting until the conditions are right to inspect them when they are happy!

Hope this helps,
Steve
 

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my 'mentor' told me to take a stick&tie a piece of cloth to it....put it at the entrance...if the bees attack quickly,put more protection on...we have some HOT hives around here,but supposedly no AHB,but the same is a 'test' we were told to try when AHB come to this area by a state apiary inspector at our club
 

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First, smoking.

A little smoke goes a long way. A lot of smoke just upsets them. No smoke will allow a full blown alarm to be sent out. A typical newbie mistake is to not smoke at all or to pump the smoker into the entrance until it is shooting flames (first mistake too much smoke, second mistake blowing flames and hot smoke). What you want is one good puff in the door and one good puff in the top and put the smoker down.

Grace.

Move slowly and gracefully. Listen to the bees. They will tell you when you move too suddenly by the pitch of their noise and by bees flying at you when you move suddenly. Set things down gently. The last 1/2" is what counts. it should be slow enough that most of the bees can get out from under the box and it does not jostle anything.

Assuming you are smoking correctly and moving gracefully and they are still unmanageable then requeen them.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesrequeeninghot.htm
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
well thank you everyone for the advice. I don't know of any beekeepers in my area that would help out. If someone is around here then I'd be willing to split the supers with you and let you walk away with the largest stack (4 supers tall). If it is AHB then I guess re-queening would be a solution but I'm afraid I'm too inexperienced to figure this out. I thought about making a bee vacuum and removing most of the population before I start trying to mess with them again. I'm not sure if that is recommended though??? any thoughts?

Anyone close to 92336?

I was able to pick up a hive on craigslist from someone who wanted them out of their patio. The hive was in a trash can she had left out. It doesn't look like there are many bees and they are just starting to form the comb. It was a total different story with these bees. I was able to walk up to them without protection and hold my hand right up to them. If it were the other colonies I probably would have had stingers in my eyes for trying something like that. Anyways, I moved the hive to my grandfathers house yesterday and was going to check on them tomorrow to see if they are still there. I just might start with this colony since they seem very docile. I'm just hoping they have a queen with them.

Here's a pic.
 

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It doesn't look like they have much comb. If you can get it into a frame it will help, but you could also steal a frame of brood from one of your hives and put that in a box with some drawn comb (if you have it) and shake them all into that.
 

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My rule of thumb is, if I don't know the bees, I armor up! After all, frequently i don't know how long a swarm has been there, so they may be in a cranky mood. And I have a couple of hives I know well, and they're cranky pretty much all the time.

Second, your mentor who told you to do this in the middle of the day is correct. More bees in the field that way. At night they're all home, and they hate to be disturbed. Plus they crawl. And sting. In the early morning most of the foragers are still in the hive, so that's not too good an idea.

AHB. Were they African, you'd have had more than 25 stings. Sounds like they're simply mean. Or perhaps there's no flow. Even my most docile hives get cranky when there's no honey coming in and I disturb them.

How long can you leave them where they are? if until the weather turns cool, that's good. then at night you can close them up, and move them to their new location. If not, I'd be tempted to pull all the supers I could one day, then strap (ratchet straps) the hive together. Return after dark, put a mosquito net around it to keep the bees in and keep them from crawling over you. You close it up, they may suffocate or get too hot. Then move them to their new location and remove the covering and scoot!

Wish I was closer, I'd help. Sounds like a good adventure for some free bees. And yes, i'd probably requeen.
Hope this helps,
Regards,
Steven
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
yeah, I probably would have had more then 25 stings if I wasn't wearing a bee suit and leather gloves..the stings I did get had penetrated through my clothing. I checked out my gloves and noticed a ton of stingers on it that were almost ready to go through. I thought about posting a video of the hives for everyone to see what I was dealing with. I'll probably do that tomorrow.
 

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Hey buzz,
Im new myself, if I got stug 25 time I would definaly revaluate my hobby. I have 9 hives and I dont need gloves and but I do wear a vail I dont like the gilrs around my peepers or snout. please let us know if they are afercanized. I heard that gas and a match will calm them down dont know for sure.

Jay T
 
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